Process Mining has become a hot topic in the last few years, as executives realized they could gain insights into what was happening inside their operations. This was the whole real picture, not just an idealized diagram claiming to represent the day-to-day and end-to-end processes really driving (or holding back) business.
Sometimes it wasn’t pretty, but at least they knew the truth. They could see that their processes were fragmented across multiple systems and too often their employees spent hours overriding rigid processes in order to serve their customers.
What became clear to us at Celonis was that revealing the unvarnished reality was just the beginning. It was no longer a debate about how processes happened. Our customers wanted to use these insights of their processes to fix things, execute better and empower their employees to make the best decisions and take the best possible action. That’s what led us to develop the Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) that we recently introduced.
So, how does the Celonis Execution Management System work exactly? How does it close the execution gaps that plague enterprises day in and day out?
Let us start by going through the most critical building blocks of the EMS. First, Celonis extracts the data from business systems and desktop applications. This is necessary as all the clues about what is actually happening within processes are scattered across multiple business systems, such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, and ServiceNow. Then there are individual desktops – you can’t ignore them because so many processes happen there. So, we need to look at all potentially relevant Excel sheets and Adobe files – to name just a few.
We transform that data into a single knowledge model to view it in the context of the process at hand. When we talk at Celonis about the challenge posed by today’s fragmented systems – well, this data consolidation is how we remove that first significant barrier to execution capacity.
Second, we move the data to the Core Mining Engine. This is a powerful, in-memory engine that continuously monitors critical data and calculates business and process KPIs. This is where Celonis senses execution gaps, conducts process simulations to discover and recommend the next-best-action, and infuses the data with intelligence.
In parallel, we have the Automation Engine, which executes automations and actions. It activates the right people to take the right tasks and actions, with automatic alerts via connections to Slack, email, or whatever the preferred communication method is in that environment. And it can write-back to the business systems, such as Salesforce, ensuring that Celonis’ insights and actions are captured and disseminated across business decision-makers. This duel engine approach removes the rigidity in current systems that is the second barrier to optimizing execution capacity. Now we have a self-learning system that knows what you are doing and helps you take the right actions at the right time.
If that’s happening under the hood, what does it look like at the front end? End-users experience the power of the EMS in two ways: Execution Instruments and Execution Applications.
Execution Instruments measure execution capacity, which we define as the ability to get things done / (cost + effort + time + natural resource). It is important that every process has a defined execution capacity that is continuously measured, and the gaps getting in the way are constantly monitored. Only then can you truly steer your company to its optimal execution capacity.
For example, our Execution Instrument for Accounts Receivables Collections pulls the data from ERP systems and desktop applications using Celonis’ pre-built process connectors. The data is then put into the perspective of the process and analyzed by the Core Mining Engine to measure the collection execution capacity by monitoring the KPI Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). In addition, the Core Mining Engine, enhanced with the Machine Learning Workbench, identifies all the execution gaps that hinder achieving the desired DSO.
Execution Apps are purpose-built applications focused on the end user’s role and designed to help improve performance by continuously measuring execution capacity, identifying and eliminating the execution gaps and automating tasks and actions. For example, the Accounts Receivable Collections App is purpose built to help each role in the collection team make every customer interaction more valuable, in order to reduce the effort to achieve the best possible DSO figure.
Therefore the Execution App follows the five disciplines of Execution Management:
Analytics: The app (in the background) links all the information from multiple business and desktop systems, and continuously analyzes the process.
Strategy: The app compares the current state of the business against the desired business and process KPI, and identifies the execution gaps.
Management: The app has purpose-built views for each role, for example in the AR app the CFO, the head of collections and the individual collectors. For each view, it provides them with the level of information required from multiple systems to best accomplish their tasks. For example, a collector can see all the information about a customer from sales, service, ERP and any other system in order to improve the quality of the discussion on the phone.
Action: For each role the execution capacity is consistently recommending actions in the form of alerts, allowing team members to assign tasks or trigger automations. The actions are prioritized based on Machine Learning models.
Automation: In addition, multiple automations are running in the background, interacting with the business systems.
Our first co-innovation customers are already using it and starting to maximize their execution capacity in Accounts Receivable and bring down their DSO - providing millions of dollars of working capital impact. There’s enormous value here. One of our customers told us that reducing DSO by just one day means a $9M improvement in working capital.
Accounts Receivable is just one process. What about all the other functions in a company, with their own execution gaps to close?
Right now, Celonis has launched the EMS with 170+ Execution Instruments and six Execution Apps. Three of these Apps we developed – Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable in Finance & Admin, and Opportunity Management in our Customers domain - and three were the work of our ecosystem partners. Protiviti has packaged its unique knowledge in Audit, Risk and Controls to create the Controls Assurance Instrument and, most recently, the Controls Excellence Execution App. And Camelot, a consulting specialist leading the charge on Demand-Driven MRP (material requirements planning), is making breakthroughs in the Supply Chain Planning Process that are leading to execution and business breakthroughs. But there are potentially hundreds more Execution Applications and Instruments still waiting to be developed. That’s why we have brought all the powerful analytics and automation capabilities of the Execution Management System platform together into the user-friendly Celonis Studio, a low-code development environment where our partners and customers can build apps and publish them, leveraging unique knowledge from their consultants, citizen developers, and process analysts who can all now become Execution Managers. In the Celonis Studio citizen developers can:
Assign the data to the app. To bring in the data and transform and gather it into a data model, they can choose from 80+ connectors prebuilt by Celonis, with the option to assign more than one data model to an app.
Add business context and knowledge to the data by putting it in a Knowledge Model. The Knowledge Model stores all the definitions of KPIs, execution gaps and can prioritize and set targets. It ensures consistent measurement of the execution capacity, identifies execution gaps and steers the organization in the right direction.
Create skills that link the insights from the Core Mining Engine to alerts, task assignments or automations. When creating skills, developers can choose from 100+ pre-built automation integrations to various enterprise systems.
Build easy-to-use user interfaces tailored for each persona with Celonis’ charting abilities on views to help visualize the insights, the actions and alerts.
Lastly, developers can distribute the app on the Celonis EMS Store, where partners can also find apps to meet use cases for their customers and users. Execution Instruments and Execution Apps can be distributed either in public or kept private for a single customer. And versioning those apps helps manage the app lifecycle.
As you can see, there’s lots to like and lots to explore. To learn more about the Celonis Studio and to experience it yourself, we created a brand new Training Track on the Celonis Training Platform called App Creator. Sign up today and get started!
If you want to go deeper into the thinking behind Celonis EMS, I suggest you start here and then head over to the EMS Store to get a feel for what’s ready to go. And of course, you can contact me at any time about Celonis EMS and how it promises the start of a new era in optimized execution capacity.